I remember when I heard the news that Cornelia Read was nominated for the “Best First Novel By An American Author” Edgar. I was very happy for Cornelia. My wife and I are both big fans of her work and to see her get recognition like this was great. I told my wife “This is really going to help sales of her next book. Even if she doesn’t win, she’s an Edgar nominee. That’s great in itself.”

But I thought about that some more. Yes, there are books out there I have bought because of the Edgar nod. I was choosing between two books to read several months ago. One was by an Edgar nominated author and the other was not. I picked the Edgar nominated one and enjoyed the book. (The book was Shotgun Opera by Victor Gischler) But at the same time, I have put books back on the shelf from Edgar nominated and winning authors.

Also before I had read any Ken Bruen, I knew “The Guards” was a Shamus winner. But at the time, I had no idea what a Shamus award was. But because the book was award winning, it did make me more interested in the book.

So my question to readers is when you see a book from an author you have never heard of and see s/he is award nominated or winning, does that effect your purchasing decision?

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I'm sure it does. I am quite willing to believe that an author who has written an award-winning book, but whom I have never heard of before, might be worth reading. What does annoy me is the re-badging of books by an award winning author in a way that makes it seem that it is this particular book that has won the award.
Many book groups have discussions of award winning books so some members must purchase them. At oz_mystery_readers in April we discuss the Ned Kelly award winning book from the previous year, and then, later in the month, one other award winning book from the last 5 years. There will be people who don't like the book - even Aussies don't all agree on the Ned Kelly award winner - but it does generate discussion - and yes some people will buy the book. We've just discussed CROOK AS ROOKWOOD by Chris Nyst, and later next week will begin discussing THE HOUSE SITTER by Peter Lovesey
I'd have to say no; I'm not influenced one way or another. I have a friend who shuns anything award-winning, be it books, movies or wine! I think he's a "reverse snob." LOL I don't pick up a book because it's won an award, but I don't pass it by for that reason, either. Most of the time I have no idea who's won those awards anyway. Oh, I might read the list on one or another of my mystery groups, but I forget just as quickly, in part because there are just so darned MANY different awards these days that it's almost impossible to keep track. I've read a few award-winning books that were great, and I've also read some that made me wonder what the judges were smoking when they made their decision.

Cheryl
I agree to this, I think the awards are very much a matter of the judges' taste. After, of course, a certain level of expertise has been met. I thought the Orange Award finalist A SHORT HISTORY OF TRACTORS IN UKRANIAN was very culture-specific, not to mention mean-spirited for much of its length. Realistic? Maybe. But I want to enjoy what I read.

My most recent award-finalist purchase was made because a friend who shares my tastes recommended it highly, not because it was on the list. On the other hand, I will give quicker attention to an award winner or finalist when I'm slush pile reading.
I kind of think of awards as peer review, especially awards given out by associations like Mystery Writers of America. So, for instance, I don't know very much about sci fi, but I look at books that won awards given by other sci fi writers and it means a little something.

And many (most? all?) awards, it seems to me, are very genre specific. Even stuff like the Giller in Canada and the Man Booker seem to most often favour a particular 'type' of book, often even more narrowly defined than "mystery" which can be incredibly wide-ranging. It does, though, make it very tough for books that are tough to categorize or are cross-genre in some ways. I hope it doesn't stop people from writing those kinds of books.

But, as someone said, awards seem to follow a little behind, so I might pick up whatever Ken Bruen wrote just before "The Guards," as a place to start.
Not any more. In theory I'm very impressed by peer reviews, but I've had too many disappointments. Now I sample in the library. Often I become a fan only to find that it takes a couple of years and several more books for the awards committees to take note.
No I am not influenced. I look at the lists and most of the time I have the book waiting to be read. It is nice to see books by authors that I know nominated but since my taste is so eclectic I am not influenced.
I'm sort of immune to awards, tags of bestseller and whatever when picking books. I usually read my friends books, books my friends recommend, books I've heard about in favorable terms and whatever else on the shelf catches my fancy. If a book or author has won an award and I actually hear about it that might be helpful but only in terms of bringing its (or his or her0 existence into my consciousness. Other than that I don't care.

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